Massachusetts residents can now choose a non-binary gender designation on state driver’s licenses, officials said.
The change took effect on Tuesday as part of the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles system upgrade. Governor Charlie Baker’s office confirmed his administration launched the second phase of the RMV’s new software over the weekend.
The agency said the RMV will now recognize three gender designation options: “male,” “female,” and “non-binary.” Those options are available for new credentials, renewals and amendments of licenses and IDs, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
At least 14 states and the District of Columbia already allow a third, gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses, the State House News Service reported in September.
At that time, supporters of legislation that would make a gender-neutral designation available on state identifying documents testified before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
State Representative Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat, is a lead sponsor on a bill that would require the Massachusetts attorney general’s office to perform an audit of all documents the state has control over and make sure the documents have such a non-binary gender designation option. She welcomed Tuesday’s development.
“I think it’s great news and I look forward to making that consistent for all state documents,” she said. “It shouldn’t be hard.”
Massachusetts Senate President Karen E. Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, said in Tuesday statement, “While I believe the residents of the Commonwealth would still benefit from the Senate’s bill being passed into law, I am very excited to see that the Administration has taken steps to allow a non-binary option on drivers’ licenses.”
Spilka added, “It is an important step towards letting people be who they are.”
A MassDOT spokeswoman said last year that the RMV’s new computer system would allow motorists to choose a “non-binary” gender option, and that the feature would be phased in after the system was implemented.